Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Help!!! Will a Catholic Priest marry you outside of the church?

I am having such anxiety about walking down the aisle. Just visiting the church gives me tunnel vision. Our reception venue has a beutiful ceremony site, but my dad is insisting on the whole catholic church thing. I think a fair compromise is having a priest marry us at the reception venue. Will they do that? Any ideas?

Re: Help!!! Will a Catholic Priest marry you outside of the church?

  • Nope. A priest won't marry you out of the church just because you're scared to walk down the aisle. It would have to be extenuating circumstances, like if you had a very sick sibling who couldn't leave the confines of their home or something along those lines. Why are you scared to walk down the aisle? Why would getting married at the reception hall be any different? I imagine you'd still be walking down an aisle, right? Many brides say that they zone out walking down the aisle once they lock eyes with their FI at the front ... plus, it's only about 30-60 seconds. If you're really that upset about it but truly want to marry in the church because of your faith, then you could just be sitting at the front with FI and then stand up and begin the ceremony when you're ready to start. Don't marry in the church because of your dad. Marry in the church if YOU want to do it, and if you and your FI believe in the Catholic faith. Otherwise, gently break it to your dad that you don't want to marry into a faith that you don't believe in, and marry somewhere else, like at the reception site. I'm getting the feeling that you're only doing this to please your dad ... that's not fair to you, your FI or the Catholic Church.
  • No, they won't. Trust me, I tried to find every conceivable way around this. The bottom line is that marriage is a Sacrament and Sacraments have to be performed in a Church. Now, if you're freaking out about the size of the church, you can always look for a smaller chapel, but it does have to be some sort of religious house of worship. A fair compromise would be to have any ol' officiant marry you at the reception venue and then do what's called a convalidation - where the Catholic church will bless/recognize a marriage done outside of the church. That way, you don't have to walk down the aisle, but your marriage will still be "leagl" in the eyes of the church. Like pp said, though, only do the church thing if it's what you and your FI want. Just like daddies have to say no to their daughters, sometimes daughters have to stand up to their daddies too. I went 'round and 'round with my family about having a wedding outside of the church and finally had to take the stance of "This is what WE want - if you choose not to attend, that's on you." and guess what? They're all coming. GL!
  • NO. Catholic weddings are only allowed to take place IN the church, no where else. I assume you are a grown woman, about to be married, so your dad cannot "insist" on anything (well, unless he's paying). Personally, I think if it was so important to your Dad for you to have a Catholic wedding, then he should have paid more attention to teaching you about Catholicism. Because if he had, you would have already known this little fact (no offense meant). I'm not even Catholic, and I know that. If you feel you must pacify your Dad on having a Catholic wedding then you need to talk to a priest waaaay in advance of the wedding. Like a year in advance. They have a lot of requirements and hoops to jump through, which often vary between priests, churches, and diocese, and it's a long, slow process. You might see if you can go ahead with the ceremony as planned, but then have a marriage blessing, or small private ceremony later (or before). Remember, that just because the venue has a pretty spot for a ceremony, doesn't mean you have to have it there. You can always just use it for the photos.
  • A fair compromise would be to have any ol' officiant marry you at the reception venue and then do what's called a convalidation - where the Catholic church will bless/recognize a marriage done outside of the church. That way, you don't have to walk down the aisle, but your marriage will still be "leagl" in the eyes of the church.Be sure to talk to your priest about this option if you feel that this is the way to go. Because they won't even perform convalidations in all cases. He's probably be more willing to do it if you had a secular ceremony, then decided a few years later to get back into your faith and wanted a blessing because of that. He might not be willing to od it if your reasoning was, "Well, I liked the length of the aisle better at the reception site so I wanted to marry there instead."
  • ditto pps.  A Catholic priest 99.999999% of the time will not, can not, marry a couple outside of the church sanctuary.  You would have to get special dispensation from a bishop, and those aren't freely given out.  They are very hard to get.You need to decide whether having a Catholic ceremony is important to YOU, not your dad, YOU.  If you don't believe in the tenets of the church you're getting married in (as in, you have to have your ceremony inside the sanctuary), then you shouldn't be getting married there.  It's disrespectful to those who do follow the teachings of that denomination.If that means that dad doesn't pay for the wedding, then you plan a wedding that you can play for yourself.  If that means that dad says he won't attend, you smile sadly and tell him he'll be missed.You can get married at the reception site by a minister of another faith, by a JOP, by a friend who gets ordained (if the laws of your state permit that), by a judge.You need to come to a decision, with your FI, about what the two of YOU want, and then plan your wedding accordingly.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • I have been wondering the same thing, and would just like to thank everyone for their responses. My FI and I are atheists, but my dad made a tearful plea for some Catholic involvement before telling me he'd accept any decision I made (he knows my beliefs). I was hoping there was some way - a blessing, a prayer, anything - that I could include somehow as a sort of compromise, but, the church has rigid rules. My FI and I have drawn our boundaries at how far we could compromise, but, it seems the church rules (which I'm not bashing or want to disrespect) just can't meet us. It makes me sad though.
  • You could look for an officiant that will let you incorporate as much or as little religion as you want. Sometimes there are ministers of other faiths who will not mention God if you don't want them to. Or just find a secular officiant (justice of the peace, friend ordained online, etc.) who will write a ceremony script of your choosing. Then you could use Catholic-based readings, songs or prayers to pay tribute to your dad's beliefs if you want. There are a lot of Biblical readings that don't "hit you over the head" with mentions of God ... many reflect on love, friendship, loyalty, etc., and can be interpreted with or without God. Maybe a Prayer of the Faithful where you ask for a moment of silent reflection to pray or hope for the safety and welfare of loved ones and your community.
  • Those are both good ideas. We are having (probably) a family friend perform the ceremony, and he's a pastor. But we want to write the ceremony ourselves. We've actually got a lot of Buddhist underpinnings because we think it's a nice philosophy. But I will def. look into some Catholic readings too, as long as they don't hit you over the head too much. The bible is big. I'm sure we can find something. It gets so hairy, doesn't it? In our respective families we have Catholics, baptists, episcopalians, unitarian universalists, and even a wiccan priestess. Gahhhhhhh!
  • Ecc 4:9-12 is a nice Biblical reading that speaks about friendship and doesn't mention God: [url]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ecc%204:%209-12&version=NIV[/url]
  • What about priests who perform interfaith ceremonies? Those can't be performed in a church so both the officiants have to be flexible about the location. Probably not easy to find, but they are definitely out there.
  • "What about priests who perform interfaith ceremonies?" Catholic priests perform interfaith ceremonies in the church.
  • Leah&Christian09 and StageManager14: Are you referring to Jewish-Catholic weddings in a church? Since rabbis will not usually marry you in a church, how is that possible? Also can't imagine the jewish guests being happy with this. But would love to hear more about how this works. Anyway, a friend just had a Jewish-catholic wedding with a rabbi and priest which was held at a non-religious location. so it is possible to get a priest to officiate outside of the church, though not easy to find one.
  • Girl- It is possible in very rare cases with a dispensation from the bishop or cardinal. However most likely she did not have a real priest but a hire a priest which woudl mean that in reality she is not considered married by the Catholic church
  • It really isn't up to the guests to decide whether the ceremony is held. A catholic priest cannot perform a marriage outside of a church without special dispensation from the bishop. Former priests (no longer affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church) will often perform weddings as a hired officiant, and will go anywhere and include catholic elements. However, these weddings are not recognized by the church. This is often the "compromise" option when the parents want a catholic ceremony and the couple does not. To the OP: your wedding, have it where you want it. If you're old enough to get married, you are old enough to stand up to your father.
  • I want to thank everyone for their responses! It really means a lot and gives me many things to think about. The FI and I are seriously talking about our options. Thankfully we have a little over a year. We set a decision time for the 1 yr mark prior to the wedding. Thanks again!
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